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SMITH: Santa Rosa man's book of wisdom inspired by staring death in the face


E.D. Isaacs was supposed to die.

In 1994, the career broadcaster and advertising exec was knocked off his feet by lymphoma and total kidney failure. He says two oncologists agreed he had maybe four months to live.

Isaacs began a treatment regimen, hoping it would extend his time a bit. He was thinking about his funeral and the lessons life had taught him when he began to look through his huge collection of what he calls "wisdoms."

They're quotes, poems, lyrics, aphorisms, philosophies, maxims, proverbs, witticisms and such that the Santa Rosan has collected for 50 years.

He decided his final act would be to compile them into a book and give it to family members, friends and the doctors and other medical workers who surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation were keeping him alive.

Then the cancer went into remission and Isaac's kidneys commenced working again. One grateful man, he choose to make his book of assembled wisdom — more than 1,500 observations in 57 categories — his gift to the world.

It's nicely done and you can find it at thewisdomsproject.com. He quotes Bob Hope on the topic of compassion: "If you haven't any kindness in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble."

A "wisdoms" on optimism by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes, "The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide."

In the "Happiness" section, Isaacs found no one to credit for, "If I had my life to live over, I'd live over a Chinese restaurant."

THE RURAL CEMETERY, the tree-shaded historical treasure on Santa Rosa's Franklin Avenue, requires a lot of attention.

The cemetery is the community prize it is because of the care it receives from volunteers on the Preservation Committee. This group also puts on a grand party.

Preparations are quickening for the Historical Ball that is coming July 20 to Mableton, AKA the McDonald Mansion. It's an opportunity to dress from the era of 1830 to 1930, take a dance lesson under the stars, tour the gardens, enjoy an elegant meal and watch a hat fashion show arranged by hostess Jennifer Webley's Portobello Hats.

Tickets to the Historical Ball are available by calling 543-3282. The cost of admission to this unique celebration of Santa Rosa's roots generates dollars essential keeping the Rural Cemetery alive.

JERRY BROWN, a longtime admirer of the lower Russian River, stopped in Forestville on the Fourth.

A local gay man spotted him, approached and thanked the governor for fighting Proposition 8.

"You're welcome," Brown replied with a smile.

MULE CARE: Petaluma equine veterinarian Katherine Szabo saw the story about wanderer John "Mule" Sears and his three high-mileage mules, and dropped him an invitation.

Through John McDonald, the Southern California filmmaker who's shooting a documentary about The Mules, Dr. Szabo of Artaurus Veterinary Clinic told Sears she'd be pleased to have a look at his three companions if he'd care to make "a nice mule pit stop off Skillman Lane."

TAKING THEIR TIME, a man and woman savored the locally made jewelry, art and crafts at the Sebastopol Gallery.

The couple might have been in the gallery store for two hours when they brought a purchase to Kalia Kliban, the participating artist then at the cash register.

The couple had selected a ring, a lovely creation of jewelry designer Stacy Lowe. Kliban made the sale and thanked the visitors for coming in.

They were near the door when the fellow dropped to a knee, then asked the new owner of the ring if she would marry him.

"Yes!" she screamed, then came the sweetest kiss.

Kliban wished all the best to two more happy customers of the Sebastopol Gallery.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)